Australia Orders Sixth C-17

The Royal Australian Air Force will acquire an additional C-17 airlifter—its sixth—under a $297 million (some $280 million Australian) foreign military sale with the US government, announced Australia’s defense ministry on Monday. The additional aircraft will greatly enhance Australia’s humanitarian and disaster-response capability, doubling its mission-available fleet “from two to four,” according to the defense ministry. Australia took delivery of its fifth C-17 last September, and in the last year alone, its C-17s have flown some 141 airlift sorties, logging more than 1.2 million nautical miles, it stated. In addition to ferrying 755 tons of supplies to Australian forces in Afghanistan, RAAF C-17s carried 500 tons of supplies to Japan following last spring’s tsunami and earthquake, to New Zealand following an earthquake, and to parts of Australia after a cyclone and flooding. The C-17 is scheduled for delivery from Boeing’s plant at Long Beach, Calif., early next year, according to the defense ministry.